Lindsay plays on the road

Three high school football teams kept their Valley championship hopes alive with wins in last week’s opening round games of the CIF Central Section Division Championship tournaments.

In Div. IV, fourth-seed Porterville blanked 13th-seed Hoover (4-7) 65-0 for the program’s first shutout under third-year head coach Michael Machado. The Panthers return to Jacob Rankin Stadium and host fifth-seed Chavez (9-2) in Friday’s quarterfinal.

Also playing home again is Div. V Strathmore, who beat 13th-seed Taft (4-7) 28-20 to advance to the next round. The Spartans host 12th-seed Arvin (6-5).

The only team on the road is fifth-seed Lindsay (8-3), who travels to fourth-seed Riverdale (8-3). The Cardinals beat 12th-seed Parlier 42-15 in their opening round game.

Fourteenth-seed Granite Hills (3-8) season came to an end last Friday with a 55-24 loss to third-seed Orosi (9-3).

All games kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday.

DIVISION IV

No. 5 Chavez (9-2 ) vs. No. 4 Porterville (7-4) @ Jacob Rankin Stadium, 7 p.m.

Fourth-seed Porterville’s first shutout of the season was a sight to behold with the team rushing for 320 yards and five touchdowns while quarterback Hector Nava Jr. threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns. The junior quarterback leads the Valley and is 17th in the state with 3,007 passing yards.

Isaiah Ellis and Lisandro Martinez held down the run game with both posting 100-yard games — Ellis’ third and Martinez’s first. Martinez had 101 yards and one touchdown on five carries while Ellis rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns on five carries.

There’s no mistaking what the Panthers can do on offense but their defense was lights out against Hoover and have played well, especially late this season. The team's only losses this season was to upper-division programs — all of whom are seeded fifth or higher in Div. II, as well as Div I Tulare Union.

Porterville now takes on Chavez, who they shared two common opponents with in Monache and Delano. Chavez came back to beat Monache 23-14 and slipped by Delano 15-7, while Porterville beat the Marauders 61-6 and the Tigers 48-6.

Chavez beat 12th-seed Morro Bay (3-8) 28-7 in the opening round and are a team that likes to run the ball. Johnathan Rivas is the team’s leading rusher with 1,114 yards and 10 touchdowns through 10 games. Quarterback Cameron Huerta’s 875 yards and 10 touchdowns make him the team’s second leading rusher.

DIVISION V

No. 12 Arvin @ No. 4 Strathmore, 7 p.m.

Strathmore started off their first postseason in Div. V with a 28-20 win over 13th-seed Taft in which running back Carlos Moreno rushed for a season-high 277 yards with three touchdowns on 26 carries. It was the Spartans’ closest opening round win in their last four years going to the playoffs.

Now Strathmore takes on 12th-seed Arvin Bears (6-5), who beat fifth-seed Shafter (6-5) 41-30 last week. The two teams only have one common opponent in Taft, who the Bears beat 24-13 in their final regular season game.

Against Shafter, Bears’ quarterback Gil Medina ran the ball for 330 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries and only threw the ball twice. Medina is Div. V’s top rusher with 1,448 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Strathmore’s Moreno is second to him with 1,333 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The postseason continues to be the biggest test for the Spartans who played just one Div. V team, Woodlake (8-3) , during the regular season.

DIVISION VI

No. 5 Lindsay (8-3) @ No. 4 Riverdale (8-3), 7 p.m

Holding at least a 93-yard lead over all running backs in the Valley is Lindsay’s Daniel Trujillo, who broke the Cardinals’ single-season rushing record with 265 yards and four touchdowns in the team’s 42-15 win over No. 12 Parlier last Friday. The senior has rushed for 1,901 yards and is now sixth in the state in rushing yards.

Considering the team runs the ball more than they throw it — 448 carries to 129 passing attempts this season — Trujillo and that offensive line are crucial to the Cardinals’ success while wide receiver Mario Diaz (770 yards, 10 touchdowns) also provides a passing option.

Traveling to Riverdale, the Cardinals face a fourth-seed Cowboys team that beat 13th-seed Corcoran 15-6 last week. The two teams are both 3-1 against their four common opponents. Lindsay beat Fowler 41-20 while Riverdale lost to the Redcats 26-7. However, Riverdale beat Sierra Pacific 16-13 while Lindsay lost 28-0 to them.

Riverdale is best at home where they are undefeated with a 6-0 record. All three of Riverdale’s losses this season happened on the road to Div. V teams.

All stats from MaxPreps.com.

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